When people here find out I’m originally from South Florida, their next question generally involves some combination of the words “why,” “the hell???” and “Pittsburgh.”
The short answer is that I came for school and it stuck. The longer answer is that the city impressed me so much when I came to visit (despite the snow, in April) — the ethnic food, the symphony, the architecture, and the friendliness.That last one in particular seemed to have a lot to do with people actually using public transportation and walking, and therefore interacting face-to-face.
You just don’t see that in Fort Lauderdale or the rest of the Miami-West Palm Beach strip, where even the smallest of errands means getting in your car and gearing up for the road ragers out there. (I actually love to drive — but not all the time.)
All of which is a roundabout way of pointing you to Walk Score, a fascinating tool that calculates your neighborhood’s “walkability” based on your home’s proximity to restaurants, shops, and the like.
One odd thing: My house here — in Squirrel Hill, one of the city’s most walkable neighborhoods — got a score of 65, while the house I grew up in, in Pompano Beach, FL, scored a 52. This does not really reflect the vast disparity between them. Walk Score might want to better take into account the difference between, say, highways and residential streets with sidewalks in coming up with their scores.